Irish Critical Legacies: Seamus Deane and Terence Brown


  • Michael McAteer Pázmány Péter Catholic University



Irish Criticism, Modernization, Irish Literature and Politics, Language, Essentialism


Seamus Deane and Terence Brown have been two of the most significant voices in Irish literary criticism and culture over the past forty years. This article discusses two highly influential studies of theirs, Deane’s Celtic Revivals and Brown’s Ireland: A Social and Cultural History. I read both works as part of an important phase in the development of Irish literary criticism during the 1980s. I compare three aspects of both studies: the role of politics in the critical approaches taken in both works; the different ways in which they tackle the problem of essentialism in Irish culture; their manner of addressing the question of language, in terms of literary language in the case of Deane and the Irish language in the case of Brown. The article highlights some problems that arise in these aspects of the two studies, while also emphasizing their importance for Irish criticism.

Author Biography

  • Michael McAteer, Pázmány Péter Catholic University

    Michael McAteer is Associate Professor, Institute of English and American Studies, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest and Director of the Budapest Centre for Irish Studies.


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Comparative Studies

How to Cite

McAteer, M. (2021). Irish Critical Legacies: Seamus Deane and Terence Brown. ABEI Journal, 23(1), 135-150.